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Beating The Locals In Vegas

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Last issue I discussed how to beat the Las Vegas tourists in small stakes no-limit games. This article is about beating the locals.

Las Vegas has a large local poker-playing community. Some are casual players who just happen to live in Vegas. Some are long time players — often retired or working jobs with flexible schedules — who put hours in nearly every day. And some are pros and wannabe pros. I’ll talk about beating each type of player.

The Casual Player

There are lots of casual local players who stop by the cardroom once or twice a week to play some small stakes no-limit. They often frequent the cardrooms at so-called locals casinos like The Orleans, Green Valley Ranch, Red Rock, and so on. But they also play at the Strip casinos.

I find most casual local players have a decent grasp of the basics, so unlike some of the tourists, they won’t make too many plays that leave you scratching your head. But these players tend to be too loose on all betting rounds, and they are not aggressive enough with good hands. For instance, they might limp in early position with hands such as T :club: 7 :club: and K :diamond: 6 :diamond: and then call a large raise from the button. And they might call two streets with bottom pair with just a general feeling that you might not “have it” this time.

This tendency to play loosely will allow you to determine a casual local from some of the other player types.

Go for value against these players. Though you should still stab at some abandoned pots, don’t bluff too much. When these players limp in, make large raises on the button with hands that can make decent top pairs like K :club: T :spade: and A :club: 8 :club: (but not with bad offsuit aces which are generally terrible no-limit hands). If you flop top pair, bet it strongly for value, including on the river. Playing this way will allow you to extract value from all those loose preflop, flop, and turn calls.

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